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Adventures in the Villa

2021-08-24 – The Oregon Trail caravan … Day 27 – Traveling from Pendleton, OR to Cascade Locks, OR

We enjoyed Pendleton and Walla Walla, but it was once again time to move on. We drove today for over 100 miles along the mighty Columbia River…

The river area starts out being developed for industry, taking advantage of the hydro power…

We stopped at a rest area, and we couldn’t even see the river…

And that is the long and short of it…

When we could see the river we saw these barges… One combination of four barges like this, pushed by a 3,000 HP tugboat, carries enough grain to fill 160 railway cars…

The Columbia is wide! mighty wide!

The Columbia is the largest river in the Pacific Northwest region of North America. The river rises in the Rocky Mountains of British Columbia, Canada. It flows northwest and then south into the US state of Washington, then turns west to form most of the border between Washington and the state of Oregon before emptying into the Pacific Ocean. The river is 1,243 miles long, and its largest tributary is the Snake River.  Its drainage basin is roughly the size of France and extends into seven US states and British Columbia. The fourth-largest river in the United States by volume, the Columbia has the greatest flow of any North American river entering the Pacific. The Columbia has the 37th greatest discharge of any river in the world.

Of course, the banks on the opposite side of the river is the state of Washington…

As we entered the Columbia River Gorge Scenic Area there was very little industry along the river, aside from the dams…

There are several dams on the Columbia. The first dam we passed was the John Day Dam… The next, shown here, is The Dalles Dam…

We stopped in the town of The Dalles to stretch our legs and to see the town…

There is not a lot going on. Clearly The Dalles has seen better times. However, we found the National Neon Sign Museum, in this fine old building that been an Elks lodge in an earlier life…

These rooms contain about 10% of this man’s collection of neon signs… Ironically, this first room displays only light bulb signs… We learned a little of the history of light bulbs and neon light tubes. We also watched a video showing how neon lights are constructed…

We moved on. We learned that there are two different types of gas in these signs – neon and argon. The colors are made by various colors of the glass and whether argon is used or neon…

This guy was clearly passionate about neon signs and historic logos…

We moved upstairs to what used to be the lodge hall or ballroom… It is now used as an event venue…

Lynda made a new friend…

After our tour we walked the town and saw more evidence of neon in the town…

As I have said, the town looks a little sad…

More neon here at the defunct theater…

There is evidence that the town is starting to be reborn. These storefronts have had their 1950s era “modern” facades removed, revealing the original early 20th century designs…

We traveled on. Great views all along the way…

We arrived at the RV park. This type of park is a favorite amongst many caravaners, but it is not mine. I find dense forests depressing and a little sinister. It is rare to see the sun anywhere in the park; not to mention that I cannot connect to satellite TV. (The park does have relatively good cable TV hook-ups…)

And an enjoyable time was had by all…

2021-08-23– The Oregon Trail caravan … Day 26 – Pendleton, OR

But first…

The 3 1/2 year old gets to start preschool today!

Do you think she looks like her mother?

Anyway, today we visited historic downtown Pendleton. Pendleton was established around 1851, and today boasts a population of about 17,000…

It is a nice, walkable downtown…

It even has a river!

We did notice these sidewalk skylights… These allow light go get into basement areas below. Which, by the way, is why we are here…

We joined the “Pendleton Underground” tour…

Like most 19th century towns, Pendleton buildings all had basements – some were built when the building was built, and others were dug out by hand after the building above was finished. These basements provided much needed storage and allowed utilitarian functions to take place out of sight. Also, in Pendleton, most basements were connected by a series of service tunnels, either under the sidewalk or under the street.

In addition to utilitarian functions, a few basements contained legal and illegal businesses as well… It was a rather rowdy town, at one time there were 32 bars and 18 brothels… There are still several bars. The brothels were shut down in 1953…

Our first visit to the underground was to a “Card Room”. It was, and is, a fully functional bar located in the basement. During the week tourists visit; on Saturday nights it still operates as a bar..

I know… Sometimes its hard to distinguish between the mannikins and members of our tour group…!

We moved to the next space. This was a Chinese laundry. The proprietor, Hop Sing, also lived here…

The next space is shown as an ice cream parlor. The actual ice cream parlor was upstairs, at street level. This basement functioned as storage, with a freezer, and this is where the ice cream was made…

This next space was the basement of a meat market. It also served as living quarters from time to time…

This pit in the floor was where the meat market proprietors made ice; they used the ice to store their meat, and they also sold it throughout the town…

And here you can see one of the sidewalk skylights. They really do let in a lot of light through prism glass… During WWII it served as a dance hall to entertain troops stationed nearby…

Another part of the basement area was a speakeasy during prohibition. It was complete with a hidden door so patrons could hide if the place was raided by the police…

This area was one of the service corridors that allowed access to the various basements…

We left the basements and went up to the street… We visited this building, labeled “Cozy Rooms”…

It was a brothel. One of the best brothels in town…

Note the large skylight above the central hallway at the top of the stairs… There are very few window, but all rooms have transom windows so that the light from the skylights reach all the rooms…

This is the chapel – the “working girls” were not welcome at the local churches, so a chapel was provided here in the brothel…

We toured the various rooms…

We exited through the back stairs, where we regrouped and went below again…

This was a Chinese boarding house and Opium den…

We enjoyed the tour – definitely a part of small town life during the Victorian era…

We returned to the Villa. Lynda enjoyed a glass of wine with her book, whilst I took a nap.

An enjoyable time was had by all…

2021-08-22– The Oregon Trail caravan … Day 25 – Pendleton, OR

We drove to Walla Walla, WA, today… The drive was interesting.

We are visiting the Whitman Mission National Historic Site.

Quite an interesting short history…

The Whitman Mission is outside Walla Walla, WA. Its about a 45 minute drive from Pendleton…

This map helps see the context of the Whitman Mission…

The story of the Whitman Mission:

Background:  Samuel Parker and Marcus Whitman journeyed overland in 1835 from the Rocky Mountains into portions of the modern states of Idaho, Oregon, and Washington to locate potential mission locations. They were looking for potential sites to establish a mission with the goal of Christian proselytizing and “civilizing” the native peoples.

During specific negotiations over what became the Waiilatpu Mission, six miles from the site of the present-day city of Walla Walla, Washington, Parker told the assembled Cayuse men that: “I do not intend to take your lands for nothing. After the Doctor [Whitman] is come, [sic] there will come every year a big ship, loaded with goods to be divided among the Indians. Those goods will not be sold, but given to you. The missionaries will bring you plows and hoes, to teach you how to cultivate the land, and they will not sell, but give them to you.”

The Mission:  Whitman returned in 1836 with his wife, Narcissa, mechanic William H. Gray, and the missionary couple Rev. Henry Spalding and Eliza Hart Spalding. The wives were the first known white American women to enter the Pacific Northwest overland. Over the next few years the Mission interacted with the people of the Cayuse tribe, teaching them their Christian beliefs and teaching them farming techniques… Things were not without conflict, but the mission seemed to be thriving… They built several buildings on the land the Cayuse had sold them.  The emigrants along the Oregon Trail stopped at the Mission for rest and medical care; many stayed on in the area.  The Whitmans adopted a family of 7 orphans whose parents had died along the trail…

Conflicts:  There were many through the years.  The Whitmans never considered the Cayuse as equals in intellect or in culture.  Disease was rampant, and most diseases affected the Cayuse far worse than the white people.  Other native tribes sought to sow mistrust of the white men amongst the Cayuse.  Measles became epidemic, and the treatments Dr. Whitman gave to the whites cured them, but the Cayuse, taking the same medicines, continued to die.

Violence:  In November, 1847, a small band of the Cayuse approached the mission, and in the subsequent violence, Dr. and Mrs. Whitman were murdered.  Eleven others were also killed, including two of the adopted orphans.  As many as 30 survivors were taken hostage by the Cayuse.  They were released a month later in exchange for a supply of blankets, handkerchiefs, clothing, tobacco, rifles, and ammunition.  A few years later, the Cayuse turned in five of their men, who went to trail, were found guilty, and were hanged.

Aftermath:  This was the end of the first Presbyterian missionaries in the Pacific Northwest.  Whitman Mission closed, and was eventually destroyed. 

In 1859, the Presbyterian Church opened a seminary in nearby Walla Walla, and named it Whitman College…

The Visitors Center had displays and told the story… It differs a bit from what I have read through other sourses, but the essence is the same..

We walked the grounds. There are outlines of where the buildings used to be…

This is where the Oregon Trail came through the property… More ruts to see…

The Whitman Memorial ia atop this hill…

About halfway down the back side of the hill are the graves of the 13 who were killed on that fateful day…

And now it is time for lunch… We drove to Walla Walla. This is the center of the region’s wine making industry. The town appears to be very prosperous, until you see that downtown has been taken over by wine tasting rooms, restaurants, and tourist trinket shops. Not necessarily a bad thing – it’s better than boarded up storefronts. But it felt a little like Disneyland. I doubr that residents do their daily shopping and other errands here…

We found an interesting restaurant called “Bacon and Eggs”…

We enjoyed a nice lunch… Lynda ordered Bacon and Eggs… I had Lox and Bagels…

Back in the RV Park our “Cook-out Committee” had put together a pioneer dinner, using cast iron cookware, much like what the emigrants would have used along the Oregon Trail…

We enjoyed beans and bacon (there were several variations), cornbread, and cobbler for dessert.

An enjoyable time was had by all…

2021-08-21– The Oregon Trail caravan … Day 24 – Traveling from Baker City, OR to Pendleton, OR

Travel day again. We have a choice: Drive two hours along the Interstate, or drive back roads for five hours. Obviously, we chose the long road…

The highway is two lanes all the way. We will be climbing over a few mountains in the 4,500′ – 5,500′ range… This is relatively close to the Oregon Trail route. After the barren plains and the barren Rocky Mountains, these are the first forested mountains the emigrants have seen on their trip…

We soon caught up to other Airstreamers. We followed them for about 45 minutes…

The forested mountains gave way to the “desert” again…

At lunch time we stopped in the tiny town of Ukiah (pop. 267). It’s a one bar town – “The Thicket”. When we arrived we walked in with two bikers – the place was empty at 11:45 on a Saturday… By 12:15 the place was full!

We enjoyed the simple, but well-made sandwiches… They had lots of beer at the bar. I peeked behind the bar, and I think I have more hard alcohol at home than what I saw here…

We traveled on. We are headed to Pendleton, OR.

We arrived at the assigned RV park and joined the other Airstreams…

We enjoyed a lovely sunset, happy hours, and a light supper…

An enjoyable time was had by all…

2021-08-20– The Oregon Trail caravan … Day 23 – Baker City, OR

We spent the day enjoying Baker City and all that it has to offer… And while it is a lovely town, there is not really much to do here… And we know this because we have been here before, in 2011…

But we drove into town to the Baker City Heritage Museum, dedicated to all things Baker City.

“The mission of the Baker Heritage Museums is to conserve artifacts of historical Baker County, to educate the public about the development of the area, to preserve local archives and to make them available for research”

The museum is located in the 100-year old Baker Municipal Natatorium, listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977. Presently, the museum is a two-story interpretive collection of Baker County’s history, specifically from the 1860s through 1960s. Core exhibits in the museum include Baker County industries (logging, ranching, and mining), historical Baker City, Wally Byam’s Airstream experience, Chinese heritage, native and non-native wildlife, and a collection of regional Native American artifacts, including stone tools. The special exhibit right now is “The Women of Baker City”…

The museum is located in the center of Baker City, across the street from the large city park. When we were in 2011 the park had about 25 Airstreams parked amid the trees… Not so today – We are camping about three miles out of town.

Inside the Museum, of course, is a room full of artifacts related to Wally Byam, the inventor and manufacturer of the Airstream trailer. Wally Byam was born here in Baker City,,,

We enjoyed the museum in its many parts… There was a video of the life of Leo Adler, born here in 1895. He lived his entire life in the family home. He was an innovative magazine retailer, and a bit of an eccentric… When his parents died, he moved into four rooms at the back of the house, and never returned to the rooms in the rest of the house. When he died in 1993 at age 98, he left a $20 million estate to a trust to provide college scholarships to local students.

After enjoying the museum we walked about the downtown main street. There are many interesting buildings…

There is a brewery, a distillery, and a wine tasting room… We stopped at Barley Brown’s, not for the beer, but for lunch.

It was a lovely time, sitting at a table on the sidewalk. Food was simple, but good, and, plentiful…

After lunch we drove out to the National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center. We had been here before, again in 2011. It is a great place, and I was looking forward to seeing updated and enlarged exhibits. Unfortunately, the museum was closed due to Covid…

We returned to the Villa, and enjoyed a nap… Happy hours ensued.

An enjoyable time was had by all…

2021-08-19 – The Oregon Trail caravan … Day 22 – Traveling from Glenn’s Ferry, ID to Vale and Baker City, OR

Three Island Crossing State Park in Glenn’s Ferry is a beautiful park, with large grassy sites. But we must keep moving on. Today we reach Oregon!

Eastern Oregon looks a lot like south western Idaho…

We are heading to Vale, OR, to rendezvous with all 20 Airstreams; then we will convoy into Vale with a police escort to assist crossing streets and staying together…

We passed through some very fertile farmland…

We all parked together in this small lot until we were all here…

Our police folk posed for pictures while we waited…

When we were ready we traveled the 2-3 miles through the town of Vale, and we parked in the Rodeo Grounds…

We were greeted by the Mayor of Vale, then we boarded a school bus to travel to our three historic sites…

Vale was the first stop in Oregon after the emigrants left Fort Boise… Here we see the ruts and swales along the trail…

We climbed to the top of the hill where we could see the trail as it passed by here…

The paved highway basically follows the route of the trail through the Keeney Pass…

Next we moved to the gravesite of John Henderson…

The emigrants buried Henderson here and scratched his name on the rock…

This last plaque was placed by locals, who based their description on an essay by a local schoolboy… No, he didn’t die of thirst… More likely was some disease…

Also near here is the Meek’s Cutoff. Meeks thought he had found a shortcut; it turned out it wasn’t…

Vale was founded in 1864 by Jonathan Keeney. As you can read, he named the area Malheur, which means misfurtune…

Vale is famous for their fine collection of more than 30 murals all around the downtown area…

We stopped in at Mal’s Diner for a mid-afternoon ice cream break…

And then we headed out for Baker City… We soon found the Snake river again…

And we found cute little mountains…

We arrived at the Mountain View RV park in Baker City…

The RV park buildings love their old west theme…

We had a lovely happy hours with several fellow Airstreamers…

An enjoyable time was had by all…

2021-08-18 – The Oregon Trail caravan … Day 21 – Traveling from Pocatello, ID to Glenn’s Ferry, ID

We were awakened in the wee early hours by booming thunder, flashing lightning, and pouring rain… We’re not in California any more…

However, by 8:00 the rain had mostly stopped and I was able to disconnect and hitch up without too much difficulty. At 9:00, Lynda and I showed up for our duties as assigned – we are part of the launch crew, or, as we typically call it on other caravans, we were to be de-parkers. As each Airstream leaves, we give a once-over look at their hitch, lights, vents, TV antennas, and we keep an eye our for any other unusual conditions…

Our duties were uneventful, and at 10:00 we returned to the Villa and finished up our hitching routine. We were on the road by 10:20.

We are heading to Glenn’s Ferry, ID.

The scenery along the way is fairly typical. Lots of potato farms…

We always stop every hour or two to stretch our legs…

This particular rest stop had a path to take us to see the Snake River, an important feature along the Oregon Trail…

We are nearing the “Parting of the Ways”, where the Oregon-bound emigrants separated from the California-bound emigrants…

One of the reasons the Snake River is important is that it must be crossed several times; some crossings were easy, some were difficult and dangerous…

Around lunch time we pulled off at Jerome, ID. It was lunch time, and we know most small towns have a large city park at the center of town. We can park, walk around the town, and have lunch, either at a café in town or in the Airstream…

We found parking at the park…

After a relaxing lunch we were off again…

We arrived at the town of Glenn’s Ferry, and we parked for the night at the Three Island Crossing State Park. It is right on the banks of the Snake River.

There is a nice Visitor’s Center… The Oregon Trail History and Education Center

It tells the story of Three Island Crossing…

The Snake RIver is wide here, and the current is deep and swift. But there are three islands at this one spot that allowed the wagons to cross in smaller bits, hopping from one island to the next. It was still a treacherous crossing, and many emigrants debated whether the crossing was worth it – only a few day’s travel down the river they would have to cross back. But if you cross here you have several days travel with ample grass, game, and water. Those who avoided the two crossings risked running short of all three…

And then came Gus Glenn…:

He knew that Three Mile Crossing was one of the most famous and treacherous river crossings on the Oregon Trail. Pioneers forded the Snake River at the Three Island Crossing until 1869. It was then that Glenn constructed a ferry about two miles upstream, primarily to expedite freight but also for emigrants. His boat, which could hold two wagons, cut nearly twenty miles from the former route. In 1871 the city of Glenn’s Ferry was established. Construction of the Oregon Short Line Railroad through the town in 1883 doomed the ferry business…

Here sits Glenn’s Ferry, a little worse for wear…

From down on the river bank we see a nice view of the Visitor’s Center…

Here is where the wagons exited the river, if they didn’t tip over whilst crossing…

Back at the Villa we enjoyed this beautiful state park…

The middle of August and the fall colors are turning in Idaho…

We had a lovely happy hours and a light supper at the Villa…

An enjoyable time was had by all…

2021-08-16 and 17 – The Oregon Trail caravan … Days 19 and 20 – Pocatello, ID

August 16, 2021

It is an exciting day for us today! Most of our grandchildren start school for the first time in 17 months…

3rd grade, 2nd grade, Kindergarten… While the 3-year-old looks on wistfully… (She starts Preschool next week…)

Or as they say in Burbank: “Primer Dia de Escuela! Kinder, Grado 2, Grado 3…”

But on to today’s activities:

We took the truck in for an oil change… I tried to get an appointment for today a week ago, and I was told by the Chevy dealer and the GMC dealer that they were too busy. When I asked the GMC dealer, “What am I supposed to do?” he replied, “There’s a Jiffy-Lube right across the street!”…

We stopped in at Fred Meyer to do some grocery shopping…

After we returned to the Villa Lynda remembered that she forgot one item, so she walked to the nearby Kwik Stop Market…

But they didn’t have what she needed, so she walked a bit further to the Albertson’s…

So after that exhausting round of activity we took it easy the rest of the afternoon. We enjoyed Happy Hours with friends, then we joined others for a post happy hours Happy Hour…

An enjoyable time was had by all…

August 17, 2021

The caravaners toured the Museum of Clean this morning…

Donald Andrew Aslett (born 1935) is an American entrepreneur and author who specializes in cleaning and housekeeping products, services, and techniques. He co-founded Varsity House Cleaning Company, a house cleaning service, in 1957.

He is considered a cleaning expert and has written books about how to reduce the time spent cleaning by reducing clutter, selecting and organizing the efficient cleaning tools, and creating what he calls a self-cleaning house.

In 2011, he opened the Museum of Clean in Pocatello, Idaho, a six-story building with a theater, art gallery, and collection of 6,000 artifacts. The building is a restored warehouse in Pocatello’s historic warehouse district…

They do have the worlds Largest Janitor!

The musem has collections of vacuum cleaners, washing machines, and similar apparatus…

This display is close to home for us… In 1974 there was a winter storm that brought giant waves to San Onofre, at San Clemente, where we typically came 4-5 times per year. Hank “Crawdad” Wilson, a master surfer, who lived in nearby Dana Point, went to surf those giant waves. Unfortunately, his board was in the shop getting some Fiberglas work done. So he grabbed the closest thing in the shape of a surfboard – an ironing board!

He hit the waves and created a surfing legend that day…

(I have no idea what this has to do with clean…)

After the museum we headed north to Blackfoot, ID. To the old train depot…

Because, after all – we are in Idaho…

The potato museum was even more fun than the clean museum… We watched videos of potato harvest, we saw how McDonalds makes their French fries. There is also a potatoe, autographed by Dan Quail…!

And it has a café! We shared a baked potato with a few toppings for lunch…

We returned to the Villa…

This evening we are having a group dinner – baked potatoes!

An enjoyable time was had by all…

2021-08-15 – The Oregon Trail caravan … Day 18 – Traveling from Montpelier, ID to Pocatello, ID

Our stay in Montpelier was also only for one night, so today we head to the big city: Pocatello, ID, home of Idaho State University… with Benny the Bengal…

Before we left the RV park in Montpelier we checked out some of their animals…

We headed down the road and found the town of Soda Springs, ID. It may look a little quiet, but this is Sunday afternoon, after all…

There is a “captive” geyser, and erupts every hour on the hour. But it is 1:30 and we didn’t want to wait…

We drove on. Idaho looks a lot like Wyoming…

We checked into the RV park and we are now all set. We are here for three nights, so we have some time to rest and rewind. I looked at Yelp to find a good restaurant here in the big city. My search for French restaurants returned only Italian restaurants. My search for American (new) returned only American (Traditional). Nope. We’ll not be dining out in Pocatello…

But, of course, there is always Happy Hours. Another couple joined us and we were happy way into the night…

An enjoyable time was had by all…

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